Samsung’s Galaxy S 4G may be the first HSPA+ phone on T-Mobile to take advantage of the 21Mbps speeds where the carrier offers them, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg for what HSPA+ can do. Today T-Mobile announced its first networks capable of 42Mbps downloads, with plans to expand their availability to 25 markets by the middle of 2011.
Right now, 42Mbps service is going live in New York City, Orlando (where the CTIA show is currently taking place), and Las Vegas. None of the remaining 23-some markets has been announced yet, but you can bet most major metropolitan areas will make the list. Unlike, say, an upgrade to a new network spec like LTE, these incremental improvements are much more straightforward to implement, largely consisting of software upgrades and making sure the network backbone can handle the increased traffic.
As should be expected, the first devices to take advantage of the new speeds will be data modems for laptops. The first such gadget, the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 stick, will be out in a few months. The carrier has yet to announce what will be the first smartphone on its network to reach these new peaks, but we’re hoping it decides on one by the time 42Mbps reaches wider deployment.